Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence


37.  Memorandum submitted by the Metropolitan Police Service

SUMMARY

  Young black people are commonly perceived to be more involved in criminal activity than other young people. This paper investigates the actual involvement of young black people compared to other ethnic groups, using the information held by the MPS. More specifically, data gained from crime reports and stop and search data will be interrogated to reveal young peoples' actual level of involvement in criminal activity.

1.  INTRODUCTION

  1.1 This paper is submitted by the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and offers a report outlining the MPS' factual account of Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System as written submission for the Home Affairs Committee. The Home Affairs Committee announced in a news release on 13 March 2006 that it is due to hold an inquiry into the relationship between young black people and the criminal justice system, focusing particularly on public perceptions of criminality among young black people and the reasons for their overrepresentation. This submission seeks to offer information to help establish the actual level of young black people's involvement in criminal activity in London. In order to draw any robust conclusions about the potential difference between young black people compared to other young people it is important to place any findings in the context of Ethnic London's composition

2.  METHODOLOGY USED IN PRESENTING MPS CRIME DATA

  2.1 In order to make any comparisons between young black people and other young people in London, the MPS CRIS data (Crime Report Information System) will be used to analyse data by ethnicity and age. The data reflects those people who were 17 and under and who were accused of crime (accused refers to those who were charged, cautioned, taken into consideration (TIC), cannabis formal warning, penalty notice for disorder and warrant issued).

  2.2 This report presents the results and findings from the analysis of MPS reported crime maintained by the MPS Performance Information Bureau (PIB) and Stop and Search data maintained by the MPS' Stop and Search Team.

  2.3 Where there is an overrepresentation in any ethnic group, the information has been compared to the ethnic populations as reported by the Office of National Statistics 2001 Census.

  2.4 Definition of the term Black—The Ethnic codes that the MPS use to represent the Black population refers to people that are African or of African Caribbean origin (this includes first generation people).

  2.5 Definition of the term Youth—The Children and Young Persons Act 1969, Section 70 of the Act defines a youth as being a person between the ages of 14 and 18 years old.

  2.6 Findings that are statistically significant are ones, which are likely to reflect a real difference rather than a difference due to chance alone. Statistical evaluation of those figures will be undertaken to establish whether there is an underlying trend in the data, using linear regression analysis. Strong trends and weak trends will be differentiated using r squared value.

3.1  Placing youth crime in context

  In order to gain an understanding of those who are potentially responsible for committing crime in London, records that relate to those who have been accused of crime rather than those who have been suspected of criminal activity have been analysed. One main reason for this is that the suspect details are less accurate and also less populated.

  There were just under one million offences reported to the MPS in the financial year 2005-06. Of those notifiable offences approximately 18% resulted in sanction detections. This, therefore, means that where a sanction detection has been secured, one or more accused will have been identified. Two-thirds of those accused were 25 or under, and of those, 19% were under 17.

  MPS recorded that 24,226 incidents[217] of young people (17 or younger) were accused of committing crime in London during the financial year 2005-06. However, over the last five years this figure has decreased consistently. Placing this in context, crime incidents overall have decreased over time however, this reduction is deemed to be not significant. It has not been possible to identify the exact reasons behind the reduction in the level of involvement by young people in crime. However, changes in procedures such as the introduction of ASBO's may have had an impact. More specifically, the crime that young people were likely to be involved in can be viewed in the table below.

Table 1

COMPARISON OF ACCUSED BY AGED CATEGORY


Major Crime Category (n=24226)
FY 2005-06 Under 17
FY 2005-06 All age groups

Theft and Handling
26%
37%
Violence Against the Person
25%
18%
Criminal Damage
14%
12%
Robbery
12%
4%
Drugs
12%
4%
Burglary
6%
10%
Other Notifiable Offences
3%
7%
Fraud or Forgery
2%
7%
Sexual Offences
1%
18%

  Source: MPS PIB, FY 2005-06.

  Table 1 indicates that there is variations in the type of offences accused are involved in when we compare age type. The most notable differences are in robbery and drugs offences.

  The top five crime type that young people are involved in:

    —  Over the last five years crimes of theft and handling has decreased from 37% to 26%. This decrease of 11% indicates a strong underlying trend.

    —  Over the last five years crimes of violence against the person has increased from 16% to 25%. This increase indicates a strong underlying trend.

    —  Over the last five years crimes of criminal damage has increased from 10% to 14%. This increase indicates a strong underlying trend.

    —  Over the last five years crimes of robbery has shown a 1% increase. This increase indicates no underlying trend.

    —  Over the last five years crimes of drugs has shown a 1% increase. This increase indicates no underlying trend.

  Source: MPS PIB, FYI 2001-2006 (It should be noted that in the FY 2001-02 there were changes in recording practices however, this has not effected the overall observed trends).

3.2  Profile of young people accused of crime and their ethnicity

Table 2

ETHNICITY OF THOSE ACCUSED UNDER THE AGE OF 17 AGAINST CENSUS POPULATION DATA (UNDER 17)


Ethinic Group (MPS grouping)
Percentage of those accused
by ethnicity
2001 Census %
% difference

White/European
55%
59%
-4%
African/Caribbean
36%
19%
17%
Indian/Pakistani
7%
17%
-10%
Chinese/Japanese
1%
3%
-2%
Arabian/Egyptian
1%
Not stated
N/A

  Source: MPS PIB, FY 2005-06 & ONS Census data, 2001.

  The table above shows the breakdown of those young people who have been accused of crime by the police by their ethnicity. In order to gauge the expected rate of accused for each ethnic group the table also indicates the proportion of ethnic populations within London using ONS census data. Those accused who come from the African/Caribbean population appear to be overrepresented compared to the census data. The rates of those accused coming from an ethnic background of African Caribbean compared to White/European are significantly different. However it cannot be determined from this information alone what the reasons for this observed difference are. Research carried out by the Youth Lifestyle survey of over 30,000 primary and secondary school children (Armstrong et al, 2005) report that there was similar self-reported offending behaviour across ethnic groups. It should be noted that the nature of the self reported crimes should be further investigated for differences between ethnic groups.

  When looking at accused information, which relates to all ages, the same proportional difference is apparent. In the FY 2005-06 the figures were 54% White/European and 32% are African/Caribbean which are very similar to the proportions of those accused who are 17 or younger.

  What can be interpreted from this information is that age alone may not be a determining factor. Research has shown that aspects of social deprivation and cultural intolerance also play a role in the overrepresentation of certain ethnic groups in certain types of crime.

3.3  Comparison of the Ethnic groups under the age of 17 and the type of criminality

  The table below shows what type of crime each ethnic group is most likely to be associated with.

Table 3

COMPARISON OF CRIME TYPES BETWEEN WHITE EUROPEAN AND OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS


Major Category
White European
African/Caribbean
Indian/Pakistani
Other

Criminal Damage
70%
21%
4%
5%
Burglary
68%
23%
5%
4%
Violence Against the Person
50%
37%
7%
6%
Theft and Handling
50%
33%
8%
9%
Other Notifiable Offences
42%
38%
9%
11%
Drugs
42%
41%
9%
8%
Fraud or Forgery
40%
34%
13%
13%
Sexual Offences
31%
50%
9%
10%
Robbery
26%
59%
9%
6%

  Source: MPS PIB, FY 2005-06.

  There are significant differences between crime types and ethnic groups. It should be noted that even though the proportion of those accused of drug offences are similar to the white population this does not take into account the different population levels for ethnic groups.

TOP FIVE CRIME TYPES THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE INVOLVED IN



White/European Accused
African/Caribbean Accused
Indian/Pakistani Accused

Criminal Damage
Robbery
Fraud or Forgery
Burglary
Sexual Offences
Other Notifiable Offences
Violence Against the Person
Drugs
Drugs
Theft and Handling
Other Notifiable Offences
Sexual Offences
Other Notifiable Offences
Violence Against the Person
Robbery


  These finding would suggest that it is important to establish what factors affect whether different ethnic groups will get involved in crime.

3.4  Breakdown of Stop and Search encounters to arrests for those under the age of 25

Table 4

BREAKDOWN OF STOP AND SEARCHES FOR THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 25


FY03/04
FY04/05
FY05/06

Stop and Searches—per 1,000 population
22.17
23.45
27.69
Arrests
10.7%
9.0%
10.1%

  Source: MPS Stop & Search database.

  Just under 200,000 people who are stopped are under the age of 25 and of those who are stopped, approximately two-thirds are under the age of 25. The arrest rate is 10% for the year 2005-06. Although the arrest rate over the last three years has remained constant the percentage change over this period has been at 24.9% and there has been an increase from 22% to 28% per 1,000 population. This increase indicates a strong underlying trend.

Table 5

PERCENTAGE OF STOP AND SEARCHES BY ETHNIC GROUPING FOR THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 25


Stop and Searches
FY03/04
FY04/05
FY05/06

White European
48%
47%
45%
African/Caribbean
35%
36%
36%
Indian/Pakistani
15%
14%
14%

  Source: MPS Stop & Search database.

Table 6

STOP AND SEARCHES AND ARRESTS BY ETHNIC GROUPING FOR THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 25


FY2005/6
White European
African/Caribbean
Indian/Pakistani

Stop and Searches—per 1,000 population
17.58
91.9
32.66
Arrests
9.7%
11.5%
8.0%

  Source: MPS Stop & Search database & ONS Census data, 2001.

  When we compare the Stop and Search encounters between Ethnic groups it would appear that the proportions are not too dissimilar between White European and African Caribbean ethnic groups (Table 5). However, if the population size of each ethnic group is used to gauge if there is over- or under- representation of ethnic groups a different picture emerges (Table 6).

  The Stop and Search figure for the African/Caribbean community is significantly different from the general population and would suggest that disproportionality in stop and search practices exists for those under 25 years of age in that community. This finding may be a factor, which reinforces the public perception that young black people are more involved in crime than others. There seems to be more similarity in the accused rates but still the African Caribbean population are significantly different from the White European population. Further work should be carried out to link accused figures and conviction levels so it can be determined if there is a successful outcome at the point of criminal prosecution.

3.5  Reasons for Stop and Search being used on young people

  The most common reason for young people aged 25 and under being stopped by the police is for drug (47%) and for robbery offences (31%). The most common reason for young people who are under 17 being stopped by the police are for drugs (31%) and for robbery offences (38%). Again the black community are overrepresented relative to their population size.

Table 7A

REASON FOR BEING STOPPED


Ethnic Appearance
Reason for 25 and under being Stopped
FY05-06

White
15%
Black
12%
Asian
Robbery
3%
Others
1%
White
21%
Black
16%
Asian
Drugs
8%
Others
2%
White
7%
Black
7%
Asian
Violence
3%
Others
1%
White
3%
Black
1%
Asian
Others
0%
Others
0%

  Source: MPS Stop & Search database.

Table 7B

REASON FOR BEING STOPPED


Ethnic Appearance
Reason for under 17 being Stopped
FY05-06

White
18%
Black
15%
Asian
Robbery
3%
Others
2%
White
16%
Black
10%
Asian
Drugs
4%
Others
1%
White
16%
Black
8%
Asian
Violence
2%
Others
1%
White
4%
Black
1%
Asian
Other
0%
Others
0%

  Source: MPS Stop & Search database.

4.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

4.1  Conclusion

    —  Youth make up two-thirds of all those accused.

    —  Of those stopped and searched two-thirds are 25 and under.

    —  Black youths are overrepresented in accused data but age is not a determining factor within ethnicity.

    —  Crime type is significantly different between ethnic groups who are accused.

    —  Crime type is significantly different between age groups who are accused.

    —  Self-reporting evidence indicates that there is no difference between ethnic groups offending behaviour.

    —  Black youths compared to others are subjected to Stop and Searches more than other young people.

    —  The proportion of those arrested from Stops and Searches between ethnic groups are similar, however, these populations are still statistically different.

    —  Increasing stop and search rates over time amongst the young black community are not reflected amongst other young people.

4.2  Recommendations

  We would therefore recommend that this issue be investigated further by the MPS as a matter of priority. Potential pieces of work that could be carried out include:

    —  Thorough and detailed analysis of CRIS data to determine whether patterns of victimisation and criminal behaviour of young black people (both as suspects and accused) differ from those of other young people.

    —  Accused data should be linked to the offence brought to justice data OBTJ and this should include diversity related features.

    —  Research to be commissioned to determine public perceptions of the criminality of young black people, compared to the criminality of other young people, as well as the reasons/rationale behind those perceptions.

    —  Research to be commissioned to determine experiences of young black people with the police, compared to the experiences of other young people.

Susan Paterson

Senior Criminologist, Performance, Development and Monitoring Unit

Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate

July 2006







217   Data source: MPS Performance Information Bureau-Crime Report Information System, FY 2005-6. Back


 
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